Designers Share How to Style a Console Table

wooden console table with vase

Ashley Montgomery Design

Console tables are a staple furniture piece and come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing is for sure—they're a perfect example of a furnishing that's both extremely useful and brings about tons of great styling opportunities. "We love a console table," says Lauren Waldorf Mendenhall of Lauren Waldorf Interiors. "They serve so many purposes, from creating spacial definition, function in a foyer, or just a way to showcase meaningful items."

Styling your console table so that it looks cohesive and curated is also key. As Kimberley Harrison of Kimberley Harrison Interiors puts it, "First impressions count! Your entry sets the tone for the rest of your home which is why it’s so important to find balance when choosing a console and decor."

But if you're having doubts about how to best style your console table so that it shines, don't worry. Designers are here to help—below, they share their go-to tips for console table styling that you can easily add to your own home.

console table in entryway

Interior Impressions

Start With a Focal Point

Determining a focal point on the wall above your console is a key first step, says Jasmine Crockett of Joy Meets Home. "This will help you decide the direction you want to go when styling," she explains,. "Artwork, an oversized mirror, or a gallery wall are three of my favorite options to choose from as the focal point."  

Go for a Collected, Unique Look

Designer Tara Kantor of Tara Kantor Interiors suggests selecting styling objects that are handmade or appear antique looking, such as ceramics or sculptures. "I typically add stacked books and a mirror or art," she says. Consider removing covers from hardback books for a tidier look, offers Tina Delia of Delia Designs.

console table with a sculpture, vases, and artwork above it

Tara Kantor Interiors

Keep Colors Cohesive

While a unique look can make your console table stand out, you'll still want to stick to a general color palette in your display just as you would when designing an entire room, says designer Michele Salazar of Cozy Salazar Interiors. "Cohesive colors will make the console feel tidy and artistic."

A lucite console table with decor on it, artwork above it, and benches below

Courtney Agosti Interior Design

Add Texture to a Lucite or Glass Console

Courtney Agosti of Courtney Agosti Interior Design is a proponent of lucite consoles like the one she used in a client project pictured above. "Lucite consoles give a nod to vintage glam yet will withstand the versatility of just about any future style," she says. However, she does have one rule when decorating with such a piece. "Glass or acrylic tables absolutely need a textile or fabric within eyesight," she says. "A stool—or pair as shown here—with silk cushions and covered buttons add a tailored warmth. The pleated linen lamp shade offers more texture and interest."

Vary Heights and Shapes of Objects

Designers say that variety is key when styling. "Layering and height are so important so the space won’t go flat," Salazar says. The exact formula to follow will vary depending on the size of your table. "For smaller consoles, two to three different height sections is great, and for longer consoles, try two symmetrical heights on either end of the console with mixed heights in between," Salazar says. "This is easily accomplished by using books as a pedestal for things like flowers or frames."

And note that it can take a bit of rearranging to get your styling exactly right. "Usually I play around with my vignette, then take a picture of it," Kantor explains. "If it seems perfect, I leave it as is. But if something seems off or missing, I add more or move things around."

console table by stairs

Britt Design Studio

Be Intentional About What is Displayed

A console table is certainly not a catch-all for miscellaneous household junk. "Don’t put anything on the console table that is not beautiful or useful," Salazar cautions. "Even the decor should strike a conversation or serve a purpose." This may mean setting out a bowl to hold keys and mail that comes in, for example, Salazar notes. Mendenhall is also a fan of this approach and expresses similar sentiments. "My rule of thumb is to make sure things feel balanced and not too overdone," she shares. "These are surfaces that should showcase and have some function, not be cluttered."

console table with baskets

Lauren Waldorf Interiors.

Showcase Some Artwork

"Layer artwork to add depth and interest," Delia suggests. This, however, does not mean that you have to nail artwork to your walls. As Delia says, "Leaning art means you can easily swap it out when you want to make a change, no tools required." Plus, artwork can be a great conversation starter, Agosti notes.  "A console should almost always have a small piece of artwork," she says. "It is an invitation to investigate. Once drawn in, the guest’s eye will bounce around and hopefully land on something of interest and engage in conversation."

Include Something Green

Maybe that's a plant, some branches you clipped from your yard or a small succulent. Either way, Agosti says, "A console table should have something green. It signifies you appreciate not only your home but also nature."